A Super-Cool Day in New Orleans: An Itinerary

An editor’s guide to beating the Big Easy heat

Hot town, summer in the city. Back of your neck feeling dirty and gritty? Consider it part of our Southern charm. That blanket of humidity? Might as well wrap yourself in it. Summer in New Orleans means searching for shade and making the most of air-conditioned venues. Pace yourself, rehydrate often and follow us for a chill day in the Crescent City.

10 am

Grab a frozen Mocasippi at CC’s Coffee House before diving into the new Great Maya Reef exhibit at the Audubon Aquarium, where a 30-foot-long underwater tunnel holds 47 species of aquatic critters. 

Audubon Aquarium

11:30 am

Once you surface, swing by Craig Tracy Gallery, where bare flesh serves as the artist’s canvas. Then check out Frenchy Gallery, where the vibrant artwork is created in real time, and Antieau Gallery, where the “fabric paintings” are all hand-stitched.

12:30 pm

Palace Café celebrates summer’s swelter with weekday lunch specials priced at the previous day’s high temp. City Greens is salad central, while SoBou keeps lunchtime simple with two-course specials and tables with built-in beer taps.

City Greens

2 pm

Stroll the French Quarter, where retailers lure shoppers in by blasting the AC while leaving their doors open. Check out the cool cork accessories at Queork, Fleur de Paris’ head-turning hats, Trashy Diva and the new Outlet Collection at Riverwalk, the nation’s first urban outlet mall.

4 pm

Bring the mercury level down a few notches with a flavored shaved-iced snoball at Hansen’s Sno-Blitz, recently named one of “America’s Classics” by the James Beard Foundation. Hot for cold beer? Belly up to the bar at The Bulldog, home to 50 varieties on tap and another 100 in bottles, or the Avenue Pub, counted among the nation’s Top 100 beer bars by Draft Magazine.

7 pm

Warm evenings call for cold gazpacho and creative ceviches at RioMar, followed by champagne-punched French 75 cocktails at Arnaud’s French 75. Or follow the cool kids to the Bywater neighborhood and grab an outdoor table at Oxalis or Bacchanal, a wine store-turned-restaurant meets live-music venue. Now how cool is that?

Arnaud's French 75